Kabale, UgandaRich Stigall
Joe Knittig, Live from Uganda
Yesterday, we arrived in Kabale, Uganda. This is the site of our first children’s village with the Church of Uganda. We were blown away.
We’ve hung a few pics of the site and children.
This village is called “The Father’s House” after John 14:1-4. The local church views the children as Christ’s own, and therefore, their own. They just needed a few more rooms in the Father’s house.
This village is a story of heroes. The local church formed a leadership committee to manage the village. Community leaders – pastors, teachers, entrepreneurs, a veteran – from within the church have carried the burden of this work with passion, faith and excellence.
They formed a humble but innovative construction business to do the building. They constructed 10 homes, a kitchen, latrines, and a depot – the profit goes to development ventures. They sent a leader to Zimbabwe for advanced agricultural training. They very carefully selected the neediest orphans in the community – truly the lowest of the low. They hand selected educated mommas with a passion for children and a deep love of Jesus, and trained them. These mommas prepared to meet their children with excited anticipation. They tirelessly canvassed the surrounding community for months to gain community understanding and support. (They did all of this, and even came in well under budget!)
The local church leadership has preached on the church’s orphan care duties, and exhorted participation. Church members have responded. One local farmer brings 2 large trays of eggs for the kids each week. Others bring fruits and beans. Others just stop by with their children to play and have fellowship.
The man who went to Zimbabwe has already begun ag development. He’s teaching the mommas and the mommas the children how to tend to pigs, and care for the coming garden. That man is the committee’s heroic leader, Pastor Obed, one of the local church pastors. He leads by example. He has worked 15+ hour days to prepare the way for the children. He went to Zimbabwe to take the farming class and now teaches what he learned to the mommas and kids. He stops by to see and show his love to the kids every morning. He embraces the kids as his own, and others are following his example.
Kids whose parents have died… Little girls who’ve been defiled in orphanhood… They now stir each morning to mommas eager to see them, and then later to Obed’s huge smile.
There’s no fancy stuff in the kids’ material trappings. They now live in standard mud brick homes. But it’s not what the kids go into that matters most; it’s what goes into the kids. And what’s going into them is a great deal of love and hope. One of the little girls (age 6) lost her parents and was abused in the hut she had to stay in before she was found. Of the change in her life, she exclaimed to her house mother, “I am in heaven!”
This local church is embracing its ministry. They are already in high gear to make sustainability a reality. Here’s how one of the leaders has explained the local church’s view of our partnership:
“When we were young children, we took water pots to the river to get water. Carrying the water back was a tremendous burden. The most difficult part of that burden was getting the full water pot from the ground to our heads. After that, we could manage quite well. What you are doing is helping us lift the burden of these children upon our heads. With that, the burden rightly belongs with us. They are our children. And with God’s power, we can more than manage.”
The local church is rising-up to meet this great challenge, and the fruit’s all over the place.
We’re now on the way to Kampala, and then to Lira in northern Uganda.
Have a great weekend.